Friday, December 21, 2007
albums on the top 10
national - boxer
Julie Doiron- woke myself up
feist- my moon my man
Soundtrack- I'm Not There (bob Dylan covers)
Peter Bjorn & John -Writers block
Patty Griffin- Children running through
Robert plant / Alison krauss- Raising sand
also not bad.....
Shins - Wincing the night away (deserves better recognition)
Andre Either - on blue fog
there is other stuff I have forgotten about Im sure.....I will
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Even better was the Pop Matters link. I've been looking for a few tracks to fill out the christmas discs and the Youtube videos of each featured song are fantastic. Gracias.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Feist - My Moon, My Man
Julie Doiron - I Woke Myself Up
Radiohead - All I Need
Arcade Fire - Intervention
The Stars - Take Me to the Riot
Caribou - Melody Day
Luna - You Turned My Head Around
Rihanna - Umbrella
Dr Dog - My Old Ways
Band of Horses - The General Specific
Miracle Fortress - Have You Seen in Your Dreams
Battles - Atlas
brakesbrakesbrakes - Mobile Communication
St. Vincent - Now, Now
Au Revoir Simone - Fallen Snow
Have to agree with Kyle that the Wilco CD was a disappointment and am surprised to see it on several year end best lists. The Okkervill River, Dino Jr and The Sadies all had records this year that despite the hype never made much of an impact on my listening time.
Don't know if you guys are checking out Pitchfork's year-end lists but I did enjoy their worst album covers of the year.
Other sites with some interesting year-end lists include Pop Matters and Dusted Magazine
I like the Broken West disc as well and might have put it in my top 20. The Les Savvy Fav has yet to do it for me, though. Haven't heard of The Teeth and I didn't know that Imperial Teen had a new disc out so I'll have to check these out.
[Note: was going to put links to all these discs/tracks but this would have made the page awful to look at and you gents are all tech savvy enough (yes, even stuart) to know how to find these on your own so i'll spare you a screen of bright blue hyperlinks].
Others that would have definitely been in spots 20-11 on my list include:
- Panda Bear - Person Pitch (great disc, perhaps a little one note and only 7 tracks)
- The National - Boxer (first three tracks are great, but it kind of wanes at times, still pretty great)
- Blonde Redhead - 23 (great shoegazer homage, remiscent of Lush and Curve at times)
- MIA - Kala (the mash of sounds and samples can be a bit much at times but at other times, the result is exciting, magical, etc)
- The Comas - Spells (fantastic hooks and rock out moments make this the most well-rounded pop record of the year)
- New Ruins - The Sound They Make (another emusic discovery that panned out well)
- Amon Tobin - The Foley Room (a return to form after a couple of mixed-bag releases)
- Apparat - Walls (for downtempo, atmospheric electronica, I'm digging this one more than the much-balleyhooed 'Untrue' by Burial)
- Brightback Morning Light (after awhile, every one of the Spirtualized-meets-Zero 7-sounding tracks sound the same but I tend to like that sort of thing)
- Beirut - The Flying Club Cup (quite beautiful music, reminiscent vocally of Stephen Merrit, but compositionally more like some of Rufus Wainwright's stuff, but more eclectic instrumentation)
My favourite songs of 2007:
-Atlas - Battles (hattip to Derek, for forwarding the video link for this most original song of the year and one that at first seems jarring but quickly becomes what pop writers like to call 'infectious'. probably the best song for running, as well)
You Know I'm No Good - Amy Winehouse (sorry, Guardian, we North American scum didn't get this disc until early 2007, and if you're going to be sticklers, "Young Folks" is definitely 2006)
-Icky Thump - The White Stripes (best lyrics of the year: "White American, what/Nothing better to do?/Why don't you kick yourself out?/You're an immigrant too")
-Double Vision - The Ponys (dreamy 60s-inspired jangly, swirly rock in a year of mostly 60s inspired jangly, swirly pop)
-She's a Rejector - Of Montreal (though it's a minute or so too long, still delivers)
-Our Life is Not a Movie Maybe - Okkervil River
-I Am Taking the Train Home - The Twilight Sad
-Have You Seen in Your Dreams - Miracle Fortress
-Mistaken for Strangers - The National
-Don't You Evah - Spoon
-Window Bird - Stars
-I've Seen it All - Feist (can't wait for that Bell Lightbox to be built! -filmfest goer inside joke)
-Paper Planes - M.I.A. (didn't really hear this track until i had my ipod on shuffle a month ago and it popped into the mix. will figure on several of your christmas discs, which will be handed out on friday at bettys lunch or mailed if you can't make it)
All for now. Looking forward to reading your posts. Don't be like Eye Magazine and come out with your list in late January, after reading hundreds of other publications who have already put out their lists and then just adding one or two obscure bands/artists that don't appear on any of the lists in order to seem really with it. I'll be linking to some of these sites over the next few days so do keep checking back here for updates.
Monday, December 17, 2007
My pop/rock faves for 2007, tempered by the fact that I haven't heard many of the albums being pegged as best of the year, which in itself is moderated by the fact that I probably won't like a bunch of them anyway, are:
Broken West - I Can't Go On I'll Go On
The Earlies - Enemy Chorus
His Name is Alive - Sweet Earth Flower (tribute to Marion Brown) - this is really a jazz record by a pop band.
Apples In Stereo - New Magnetic Wonder
The Besnard Lakes - Dark Horse
Les Savy Fav - Let's Stay Friends (just started listening to it, but me likey)
The Teeth - You're My Lover
Imperial Teen - The TV, the Baby, etc etc
As a sidebar, I tend to find that pop music is filling the "lighter" space in my musical spectrum (unlike say anytime prior to about 2000 or so) and I look to jazz and classical for deeper heavier stuff.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Here's my top 10 of 2007, along with 5-year probability of staying power.
10. Amy Winehouse - Back to Black 40%
9. Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone 70%
8. Lewis & Clarke - Blasts of Holy Birth 80%
7. Caribou - Andora 80%
6. The Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes are the Dark Horse 60%
5. Feist - The Reminder 60%
4. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga 70%
3. The Arcade Fire - Neon Bible 70%
2. Radiohead - In Rainbows 80%
1. Miracle Fortress - Five Roses 70%
Albums I have not listened to yet but I've heard good things about so don't give me crap cause they aren't on my list:
New Pornographers-Challengers, The Most Serene Republic-Population, Stars of the Lid-And their Refinement of the Decline
No time for commentary right now but will expand a bit on these later and will add the top songs of the year as well.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
They are available to be borrowed for anyone who wishes.
Having just listened to "Exile on Main Street" tonight I know what a truly classic album sounds like and neither of the Bowie discs comes close regardless of how innovative they may have been at the time and I'm not sure I buy that anyway.
I cant really claim to know much of Bowies 90's music and it may be possible that he has some great stuff in there, but there is so much other music that is great during the 90's that it seems a waste of time putting in the effort to find out...If it really was that great my guess is we would know about it....considering that the 6 of us probably spend more time perusing reviews checking stuff out online etc... then say.... most medium sized cities in North America...
PS Anyone who does not own Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust is simply befeft of some of the finest music of the 70's...( not to mention the slightly weaker - diamond dogs...alladin sane...)
Does anyone own any of his Berlin trilogy......I have heard some love those too.....
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Back to music, is there any reason at all for a David Bowie box set of his output from the 1990s? Is this being released solely for the purpose of appearing on the Onion's annual least essential list? 'Little Wonder' was a catchy enough, drum-n-bass-like hit, but the rest? Can't think of a potential box set that could rival it for 'inessentiality', other than, say, 'The Paul McCartney Collection (1980-present)'.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
1) Although I still buy cds, i agree with Brians summary exactly, ths classical and jazz cds I also still reread the liner notes regularly re who plays whatetc... whereas w pop I a) can remember or b) dont care ie...who the drummer of the clientelle is for example...
2) I have never done the great ep game, but I have often done the weak double record that could have been a great single disc...ie Fleetwood Mac Tusk, Smashing Pumpkins -mellon choly...., springsteen - the river.....Electric ladyland zeppelin-physical grafitti, u2 -rattle and hum
some of you will wrongly say some of these are great albums, but my point is that most are arguably just good albums, maybe even very good, but most of these would have been great single albums ranking alongside the best of there recorded output..
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Beck's Odelay is a great example of that too. One of the best. And I would argue that (since you bring up Pavement) Wowee Zowee is a strong candidate as well - very good in its full form, but man, if it had been released as a five-songer with We Dance, Rattled, Grounded, Father to a Sister, and Kennel District, how amazing is that.
You could probably make a good case for the White Album - even if you just eliminated Revolution #9.
I could do this all night. But I'm tired. Good night, sweet blog.
Monday, November 12, 2007
I'd go with...
Beck's 'Odelay'. The EP becomes: 1. Devil's Haircut 2. Hotwax 3. The New Pollution 4. Novacane 5. Where it's At
I always end up skipping to these tracks whenever I listen to this album, finding the rest either too abrasive, silly or both.
Stereolab's 'Mars Audiac Quintet', which becomes: 1. Wow and Flutter 2. Ping Pong 3. International Colouring Contest 4. Three Longers Later 5. Fiery Yellow
Really love this album but the sound can get a little repetitive. These five tracks are not only the best of the bunch but a nice representation of the band's range, from the shoe-gazer-like drone featured on 'Wow..' and 'Three Longers' to the 60s space lounge of 'International Colouring Contest' to 'Ping Pong', an improbably dancable socialist critique of the foundations of capitalism.
Pavement's 'Terror Twilight', which becomes: 1. Spit on a Stranger 2. Cream of Gold 3. You are the Light 4. Major Leagues 5. Speak, See Remember 6. The Hexx
Am I missing some obvious choices?
Monday, November 05, 2007
Hands in the Snow (the song) - Saturday Looks Good to Me (the band)
Open Eyes - Apple in Stereo (couple of other goodies on this very strong record)
Suffer for Fashion - Of Montreal
Ghost Town - The Bicycles (an 06 record but an 07 thing for me)
Rally - Phoenix (ditto above)
Stay With Us - New Buffalo
Rides the Rails - Besnard Lakes
You Can Build an Island or Down in the Valley - Broken West (On the Bubble also a goody)
Fallen Idol - Imperial Teen
Wow, there's a fair bit of 60's inspired frilly pop in this collection.
I actually spent half an hour in HMV yesterday and was quite pleased to see that they've marked down a lot of discs in jazz and classical by about $5 on average presumably to adjust for the very strong loonie. While in the jazz section they were playing the latest Jarrett / Peacock / DeJohnette disc. I have a few of their live albums already and what I heard of their latest was extremely beautiful.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Nude - Radiohead
Icky Thump - The White Stripes
Tonight I Have to Leave It - The Shout Out Louds
Our Life is Not a Movie Maybe - Okkervil River
On the Bubble - The Broken West
Double Vision - The Ponys
Boyz - M.I.A.
Arcadia - Apparat
Mistaken for Strangers - The National
Melody Day - Caribou
Burn 2 Ash - Chad Van Gaalen
Ships - New Ruins
Stronger - Kanye West
I Know I'm No Good - Amy Winehouse
Smile - Lily Allen
Been There All the Time - Dinosaur Jr.
I am Taking the Train Home - The Twilight Sad
Disaster - The Besnard Lakes
She's a Rejector - Of Montreal
Comfy in Nautica - Panda Bear
Neo-Plastic Boogie-Woogie - Mahogany
Have You Seen in Your Dreams - Miracle Fortress
I'm sure there are a few that I'm forgetting or can't see readily in my itunes...
Friday, November 02, 2007
I still seem to find an excuse to go to Gregorian every few months and scour the shelves for new classical music. For me, the reason that I'm tending to buy the hard copies of the softer stuff is that I listen to my stereo (read: CDs and records) after hours as I'm reading (read: falling asleep) so the quiet melancholic stuff tends to fit best. For pop, it's all about the subway and music to walk to, so digital works well. No, this is not a good evolution.
When are we going to have our next gathering? The pre-Christmas calendar is filling up a bit.
Case in point is this past weekend when I threw on Richard Buckner's first album. I'm not sure that if I had it stored somewhere deep in a computer folder that I'd be looking it up, throwing it on the iPod and connecting it to my stereo. By that point the mood that struck me to listen to it in the first place might have passed. What I find with digital music is that if something doesn't strike me fairly quickly I might never go back to it and that might be after only listening to the first few tracks on the way to or from work. I should really take the Doyle approach to e-music and download a select few tracks from any given album and take them for a spin and then go back for the rest if it strikes a chord. But again that takes time and energy that I don't always have.
Speaking of single tracks anyone have any faves from 2007 that might go well on year end comps? Figured we can beat the December/Pitchfork rush and I need some cool playlists for my iPod.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Sure there are those who would argue otherwise. Radiohead hasn't released sales figures for the enhanced box set version of In Rainbows, available for pre-order for 40 pounds, but I'm guessing there are quite a few fans who opted to purchase this version instead of just downloading the album for as little as a few pounds. But I'm happy with my 3.50 pound purchase of the digital only version.
My only complaint at this point is that maybe I have too much new music and need to pare down my consumption of it so that I can better appreciate (or at least listen to) what I already have. In addition to the 90 tracks (roughly 6-7 albums) I get from emusic, I usually get another 2-5 from other sources, legit or otherwise. Even with all the time I spend travelling, which affords me extra listening time each month, I still find I'm a little overwhelmed by the selection of new music from which I can choose. And yet...I don't want to miss out on any potentially new or interesting music so paring down doesn't appear to be the answer either.
As for concerts...though children should be apportioned far more blame in this society, I'd have to lay the blame at just not having enough time in the day to schedule a concert, get a decent amount of rest/sleep, and still meet family and work obligations. I'd like to see more bands that come into town, as well as more operas, plays, dance troupes, etc...but alas, even when I'm making an effort to book tickets and arrange my schedule accordingly, I still find it incredibly difficult.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I could pin some of this on the time taken up in raising a child but that wouldn't be entirely fair. After all most of the concerts that I used to go and see in a previous life (20-25 rock concerts in 2004-2006) didn't get rolling until 10pm or later, long after Ciaran has gone to bed. So why have I only seen 1 live rock concert in 2007? (2nd upcoming thanks to Kyle) Can I blame you sorry sods for being equally comatose when it comes to the live music experience?
And it's not restricted to rock music. The last opera I saw was over a year ago and I haven't been to see the TSO or any chamber music in a couple of years. How are the rest of you on this count? Have you seen anything lately or see anything on the horizon that looks interesting?
As for the music package itself are any of you still purchasing with any frequency. Amazingly it has been over a year since my last purchase at Soundscapes and the only CD I've bought since the summer was the new Band of Horses. If any of you are still buying the shiny silver discs are you seeing the strength of the Canadian $ reflected in the prices?
On a similar "demise of music" note I see that Sunrise downtown is now selling used CDs in addition to their regular inventory. Makes me think HMV will soon be the only game in the heart of the city.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
"God bless Animal Collective, but they really have, in their own strange way, made indie rock a much more conservative place than it should be. If you can create intellectual distance from your work, then critics will feel clever for getting it and give you good marks; if you create music that fucked-up 13-year-old girls might enjoy, then critics will feel like you're trying too hard and not give you good marks. The Pitchfork phenomenon in particular is bizarre because it seems to have altered the fundamental way in which people get into music. I really do think that people should probably lose their virginity before they start writing reviews for Pitchfork."
Questions that follow:
1) Are bands that are wear their heart on their sleeve musically penalized for so doing? Know we touched on this discussion a few years back (sentimentality vs. ironic distance) so wondered if you all felt the same today.
2) Is Animal Collective's music really intellectually distant? I would argue otherwise.
3) Is it likely that most Pitchfork scribes have yet to engage in coitus? If so, should they be barred from publishing until they've done the deed?
Should these questions bore you to tears, here's an article on the future of itunes.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
What are the top five jazz ballads (compositions rather than performances), and top five rock ballads (or slow songs, if you'd rather), of all time?
I will start with one jazz to get the whole thing going - Goodbye PorkPie Hat by Charles Mingus.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Friday, September 07, 2007
Also (why not a further jab at Herr Watson) thanks for posting on the correct blog.
The Mullova disk is one that I had considered buying at Gregorian a couple of months back. I'm impressed that emusic has it.
Incidentally, Billy Hart is part of Lovano's band at Birdland on the NYC weekend.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
I'll stick to music that I've downloaded from e-music over the last few years so at least that way you can easily procure the music for yourself.
In a classical vein:
Peter Donohoe playing Michael Tippett's piano sonata No. 1, 2nd movement.
Pascal Devoyon and Dong-Suk Kang playing Poulenc's violin sonata: Intermezzo.
Viktoria Mullova and Katia Labeque playing Clara Schumann's Romanze for violin and piano.
Mieczyslaw Horszowski playing Schubert's piano sonata in B-flat, D.960 1st movement.
Maxim Rysanov and Evelyn Chang playing any of the following three pieces from their 2007 album: Glinka's violin sonata in D minor (allegro), Enescu's concert piece and Tabakova's "Whispered Lullaby"
As for some jazz:
Dave Douglas - Meaning and Mystery cd - "Blues to Steve Lacy"
Antonio Farao - Takes on Pasolini cd - "Julian e Ida"
Mary Lou Williams - Zoning cd - "Ghost of Love"
Mimi Fox - Perpetually Hip cd - "Night and Day"
Billy Hart - Quartet cd - "Charvez" or "Lullaby for Imke"
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
"The Stone Roses" - The Stone Roses
"Pills, Thrills, and Bellyaches" - Happy Mondays
"Between 10th and 11th" or "Some Friendly" - Charlatons UK
"Gold Mother" - James
"Life" - Inspiral Carpets
Essential tracks from that era:
"Step On" and "Kinky Afro" - Happy Mondays
"The Only One I Know" - Charlatons UK
"I Wanna Be Adored" and "Fool's Gold" - The Stone Roses
"Shall We Take a Trip?" - Northside
"Can You Dig It?" - The Mock Turtles
"Groovy Train" - The Farm
"Come Home" - James
"This is How it Feels" and "She Comes in the Fall" - Inspiral Carpets
Good Fridays to all.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
at the risk of seeming trite, a fitting video, from a band toni wilson helped launch:
Sunday, August 19, 2007
I've only begun to look at rock venues but like the look of Arlenes Grocery - a local (Tribeca) place that features multiple bands per night and only a small cover.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
So re jazz flats and sharps, I think there are two different things going on here. One is the aforementioned live session phenomenon (jazz records were almost always recorded over one night or possibly two in the good old days, and doesn't happen much anynmore). My favourite example of this is an excruciating first trumpet figure by Tommy Turrentine on the first track of Sonny Clark's Leapin' and Lopin', a truly ugly miss on a fine record. FYI, any record by Sonny Clark is pretty much top notch.
The other is, in my opinion (in the case of Miles Davis anyway) the attempt to create a mournful, plaintive, soulful sound using non-traditional notes, long slides into and out of key, and breathy unusual embouchures. Thinking of Sketches of Spain, as well as Ascenseur Pour L'echafaud. Not to say he didn't sometimes resonate on a note that he wasn't expecting, but I'm pretty sure he accepted that would be part of the sound he was shaping.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Question to you jazz scholars.... On a number of my jazz records , it is quite common for the musician , (usually it is a trumpet player) , to miss notes , or be a bit flat, for example like Johnny Coles on that video clip around the 5:15 min mark for a few seconds...Miles davis does it quite a bit on sketches of spain, etc etc... is this for you guys , just the greatness of getting live passionate music taken off the floor warts and all ...I never hear critics discuss this...like it is taboo somehow to criticise these historical sessions....You dont seem to hear it on new modern recorded discs from the last decade, it only seems to happen on recordings from the 50s and 60s..
Monday, August 13, 2007
And Waltz for Debby is fantastic but is the second half of the Live at the Village Vanguard recording, so more familiar. Ergo not on my list.
On a similar note, I saw from e-music that Bill Evans has "released" a number of new recordings, one of which is Live in Ottawa (1974), recorded outside at Camp Fortune, where I attended many live shows over the years as a teen. For those of you who are Bill Evans obsessed (OK, that's only me) the sound quality on this new one is great and the trio is in great form, from the 3 or 4 tracks I sampled. E-music has a pretty full collection of Evans' music, if you hadn't noticed that yet, and were looking for some monthly subscription filler.
Friday, August 10, 2007
i am digging the radio paradise station that you recommended which is more suitable for work than kexp or kcrw and still plays an interesting mix of songs.
to you jazzophiles out there, has anyone picked up the mingus/dolphy cornell recordings disc? the track i heard on the all songs considered podcast is pretty great.
for those looking for a mingus/dolphy fix on a friday morning, here's a great performance, courtesy of youtube:
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Friday, August 03, 2007
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
Sunday, July 29, 2007
And why is FC essential? Because they were the first to my knowledge in the English folk scene, which in their case called on traditional English music and turned it into rock and pop songs. Folk and folk-pop music for the years previous had been dominated by Americans - Dylan, Baez, Phil Ochs, The Byrds, numerous others - so FC was almost a reponse to it, and you can see from their first few records, incl. Holidays, that they started out working with American songs (lots of Dylan covers, for ex) until they re-invented themselves as interpreters of traditional Brit songs with Liege and Lief - and that's the record I would own if you had to have one. Full House is equally good but doesn't have the benefit of Sandy Denny, who'd left by that point. Unhalfbricking is less interesting thematically, but is a fantastic record nonetheless - personal faves are the justly famous "Who Knows Where the Time Goes", plus "Autopsy" and "Percy's Song" (one of three Dylan covers on the record). The English folk scene - of which I own very little, but I know Stuart is a huge fan so I will let him expand and expound on this...but artists like Steeleye Span, John Martyn, Pentangle, even Nick Drake - grew out of the inspiration of Fairport Convention. Later celtic rockers in the 80's too (Spirit of the West eg).
Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
I saw a Denny-less, Thompson-less Fairport live at a small club in Ottawa in the early 80's, and despite the lack of (famous) original members it was pretty fantastic.
The 'Podcasts' links will now open up in itunes and bring you to the subscription page, where a simple click will add that podcast to your list of automatic updates. If there are additional music-related podcasts you think I should include, or even non-music related ones, please let me know and I will add these.
Under 'Radio', I've added 'Fresh Air Edinburgh', a great station I discovered in Itunes radio. In addition to playing great music, they list the track and artist in itunes while playing, which the other two links aren't able to do at present. When you click on this link, select 'open' and it will open up in itunes. I've also added last.fm, which does what Pandora used to do (no longer available in Canada).
Streamlined the reading section, most of which are focused one music, two of which focus on fake news (the onion) and commentary on real news (salon). If you only have time to read one blog per day, Glenn Greenwald's daily (sometimes hourly) posts on media coverage and politics in the US is essential. The last is a link to the Toronto Public Library, which you should really bookmark if you haven't already.
The Giles Peterson comps are hit and miss. You can listen to a few samples at emusic.com to see what I mean. You may also want to follow the trail of links of suggested music and labels to find other similar examples (duh).
What you definitely don't want to do is find yourself on the slippery slope to smooth jazz.
Regarding sandy denny, the box set is 5 cds and covers her whole carrer, Strawbs, Fairport Convention, Fotheringay, Solo....It is probably way too much for anyone other then the true nutters like me...The best records to have are unhalfbricking , Holidays, Leige and leif,
Fotheringay, and Sandy , and I would start with unhalfbricking or leige and leif.....
Also, if you want to see how jazz got off the rails in the seventies, you should check out his record from a few years later - Black Byrd - which is soul/R&B jazz with black guys and girls chanting along....real Isaac Hayes meets jazz stuff. Sounds pretty cool in a purely retro way actually, but considering it came from a pure jazz trumpeter, and was a huge seller, well, it was the beginning of the end of the line for jazz for about ten years.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Stuart, I take your point about REM and the ludicrious application of a term to a band long since past its 'alternative' days--I'm pretty sure U2 is still winning or being nominated for Alternative Grammys, despite being mainstream for 20+ years. But I still think that 'Document' and 'Green' were college radio, though the single 'Stand' from the latter certainly helped them transition to the mainstream, solidified with 1991's 'Out of Time'.
Gotta run out to pick up some Depeche Mode.
Monday, July 16, 2007
in fact, I recall making a series of cassettes in 1987 that was comprised mainly of songs I'd taped directly off the radio--how's that for audio quality--and they were labelled 'New Wave 1', 'New Wave 2, 3, etc..).
I have a freakishly good memory when it comes to these types of things (ask me to rattle off the last 30 stanley cup winners....come on....i dare you) so I'm saying your colleague has it wrong.
However, you are completely wrong when it comes to Depeche Mode, who are, or at least were for a time being, awesome. 'Just Can't Get Enough' is in the top 5 songs of the 80s, and they have at least 3 great albums (Music for the Masses, Black Celebration, and Some Great Reward), mentioned specifically here if only to draw a potential differentiation point from Derek, who will likely support my claim in general. As punishment for saying this, i invite you to recall the opening bars of 'personal jesus', which will now stay in your head for the remainder of the day.
I never called Depeche Mode anythign because I thought they stunk, but that's beside the point.
Anyone feel like sounding in to help me settle this?
Friday, July 13, 2007
also , whats a good way to cure the kyndey stone blues, go blow 100 bucks on a box set... picked up the Sandy Denny set and as I am already a committed fan, unsurprisingly I love it...however, it is a bit like the faces box, in that the outtakes (in particular one disc of demos of just her and her guitar or piano singing) are magic... this is not always the case......
Thursday, July 12, 2007
As an aside, I question why emusic with all of its "new release" notifications (seems to be about two a day) almost never tells me about something I either (a) didn't already know about or (b) would really like, given my previous downloads. Julie Doiron is a perfect example. Kyle, can you arrange to work with them to re-program that?
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Erik Friedlander a cellist with an eclectic bent I heard this morning on their jazz show. They played a track from his latest disc Block Ice & Propane which was pretty cool. I'd also recommend the album Africa Calling by Wilton "Bogey" Gaynair a recent re-issue of a British jazz album from the 60's which I downloaded last week.
I also heard a track today from the most recent Julie Doiron CD which was just nominated for the Polaris prize. I didn't even recognize it as her and it was very good. Was surprised to see this was on e-music. I've also heard some good buzz about The Veils and their most recent disc Nux Vomica. The main guy in the band is Finn Andrews the son of Barry Andrews of XTC fame.
A recent Gramophone issue also gave plaudits to the Young Danish Quartets disc of Nielsen String Quartets, a record which I'm about to download myself as I know only Neilsen's symphonies.
Hope that helps a bit.
A couple of recent (yes, e-music too) discoveries for me were The Slip - their recent release Eisenhower is beat-based indy guitar rock and pretty well done, and a mix of styles that is a little new to me - more emphasis on rhythms and beat than I generally seek out, maybe a bit of The Feelies in their library....but also a lot of Death Cab and Geek Rock influences. Listen to Soft Machine and Children of December to see if it works for you. Through searches for The Slip I came upon Phoenix, which you younger cooler cats probably know all about, much ballyhooed in '06, but brand new to me...and in a generally similar way, quite good. Less geek, more dancy at times, but some very good songs.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
I did however pick up the new White Stripes album, Icky Thump on the strength of a political verse.
What, nothin' better to do?
Why don't you kick yourself out?
You're an immigrant too.
The verdict is still out on the rest of the Album.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Don't get me wrong, i'm not about to get off my ass to change it, but i sure enjoy sitting poolside, drinking beer and listening to other people sing about how we should.
Three albums with strong political content that were released in the past few years that i "buy into"
Beastie Boys, To the 5 Boroughs
The Ex with Guests & Getatchew Mekuria
Antibalas, Who is this America
...and that's just what i have by my desk at the moment.
When i think of protest songs, two things come to mind. The great sixties and seventies songs of Dylan, Niel Young, etc...folk inspired; and the great afro traditions of Kuti, Marley and their peers and all that followed in their footsteps.
On my list would have to be, For What it's Worth, Fortunate Son, Ohio, Eve of Destruction, Woodstock performance of Freedom by Richie Havens (#1 pick?) , Sky Pilot, Hurricane and the list goes on and on.
When i think about political songs of a slightly more recent era, i start to think of Sinead O'Connor and of course, one of the biggest political bands of our times U2. The list of favourite artists who sing about more than just boy meets girls? ...Springsteen, Beastie Boys ...at one point i was a huge Bruce Cockburn fan but i can't seem to get into him any more. ...Lou Reed, R.E.M., The The (brilliant), Pearl Jam, Ramones, and Michele Shocked.
Somehow i do make a distinction between the protest song that comes out shouting it's message and the political song which can have much more subtle undertones of descent. ...as Brian aptly put it with bands like the Stones and the Who.
I gotta say though, the one thing that gets my back up is when people, proverbially, get together in a hotel room and start chanting for us to "give peace a change"
Have we forgotten that "protest" music was popularized through the American folk music of the sixties (a generation raised in the shadow of World War II) and the Anti-Vietnam music. Given the long-standing eerily similar situation in Iraq surely it still resonates? No need to list too many songs, but Dylan's Master of War, McGuire's Eve of Destruction; The Byrds Turn Turn Turn or Draft Morning; Buffy St. Marie's Universal Soldier (covered by Donovan); Buf Springfield's For What its Worth; Airplane's Volunteers etc etc
what about about the great social commentary music coming out of Britain at the same time - like the Stones 19th Nervous Bkdn; the Kinks (almost every bloody song actually) Well Respected Man (as an aside: isn't it fun to live that every day?! yeah baby!); Who's My Generation; Yardbirds' Mr You're a Better Man Than I.
This sixties' msuic was some of the key music for me in my mid-late teens, and I think to a degeree it is re-discovered by every subsequent generation for the same reasons as you mentioned.
Kyle, still thinking of my favourite videos, and will blog on same......just......need.....more......tiiiiiiiiiiiimmmmmmmmme
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Most of the songs that worked for me in a political sense did so when I was in my late teens, early twenties when you're beginning to realize how fucked up the world is and there's not a helluva lot you can do about it. It's then invigorating to realize that there are other like minded souls out there that are raging against the machine and encouraging each of us to do something about our predicament.
Unfortunately just like the artists, who also tend to be more "political" in their youth, as we grow older our ideals tend to become compromised and we get tired of kicking the pricks. Can't say either that there are too many out there making music of a political nature but perhaps the baby boomers said the same thing of the music in my heyday.
Fave political songs: (couldn't do just 5)
Peter Gabriel - Biko
Elvis Costello - Oliver's Army
The Specials - Ghost Town
The Clash - The Call Up
Midnight Oil - Best of Both Worlds
Billy Bragg - Help Save the Youth of America
The Jam - That's Entertainment
That Petrol Emotion - Big Decision
Public Enemy - Fight the Power
Boogie Down Productions - Stop the Violence
The Men They Couldn't Hang - Ironmasters
Monday, June 25, 2007
Incidentally, subsequent to the gig on Saturday I have revisited Original Silence that I brought to the CD club and claimed to be unlistenable. Original Silence feature Thurston Moore, Jim O'Rourke, Mats Gustafsson and Terrie Ex amongst others. Having made it through the album at least 3 times today as I work in the office I seem to have proved myself wrong. …you CAN actually listen to it, although some of the dogs in the park apparently disagree!
The Ex showed up as a four piece. Terrie Ex and Andy Ex on Guitars, Katerina on Drums, and GW Sok on vocals. The Ex have been through a morphing line up since their forming in 1979 when they hit the scene with their version of a hard hitting Amsterdam protest punk sound. Over the years the sound has ventured into experimental and jazz but what they showed up with on Saturday night was full-on angry punk.
The talent and passion on stage was astounding. The band was the tightest I have ever seen in such a furious performance and the night was filled with guitar sounds, the likes of which I have never heard. I figure that the Ex must have a combined age of a couple of centuries and in case, must have about a century of combined performance under their belts, and it shows. There was not a hint of complacency in their musical message, but rather, their proficiency as musicians shone through the entire performance.
It was inspiring to see musicians in their 40’s & 50’s putting out music that is still so impassioned and unencumbered by commercialization. On the surface, on might think that the show would have been anachronistic but on the contrary the music, a combination of new and old, came across more relevant and dire than any other I have ever encountered.
…”a rough calculation makes it very clear that within a 100 years we all be x-times as rich and x-times as fucked” shouts Sok through a small megaphone. An eerie reminder that perhaps we are at more than just another gig at Lee’s
The evening was a dreamscape of controlled chaos. A purity of notes and sounds that were clean, crisp, articulate but filled with anger, rage and a deep seated belief that the world is going to hell in a hen basket, half the world is fucking the other half and we are all fucking our kids, their kids and mother earth.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
To be fair to The Arcade Fire, I'm pretty sure this is the work of a fan and not an official video. This is probably the direction of the music video...online, produced by fans or those with time on their hands and the wherewithal to work with the right software tools, with the best spreading virally through our email, websites, and blogposts. Which is probably a good thing. Bands these days don't seem to have the same enthusiasm as they did even a decade ago.
As I sound the death toll for the lavishly produced music video, does anybody want to chime in with their favourites of the past 25 years (don't think there were any real videos before then)?
Worst? Or are you indifferent to this topic entirely? If the latter, please allow a week of silence before beginning another topic, preferably one which references an obscure jazz/classical release.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Friday, June 15, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Now that you've had a week to think about it and I haven't had a chance to pick up more tickets who is in and who is out for seeing Battles at Lee's Palace on Monday July 16th. I currently have two tickets and will pick up more this weekend if necessary.
Here's a link to the video for "Atlas" to refresh your memory re their distinctive sound.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
do believe that it's 'battles', sans definite article and that marc's assertion that the new arcade fire disc rocks is bang on. as followup to the lost post and our discussion last week, i'll try to come up with a date in july for a cd club dins at kyle's, music out somehwere night soon.
Monday, June 11, 2007
The bycycles-the good the bad...
the comas - spells
peter bjorn & john- Writers block
The ex guests Gebtatchew mekuria
Tatem & Ben Webster -The album (classic 57 sessions)
The battles -mirrored
lavender Diamond -Imagine our love
Egolillys- Feel my member
That was all I wrote and compared to kyle's narrations its pretty painful, (damn him), but I gots no time ....
Friday, June 08, 2007
The Ex with Getatchew Mekuria & Guests, Moa Anbessa
The Good, The Bad & The Queen
Pawa Up First, Introducing New Details
Incidentally, The Ex is playing on Sat 23 of June at Lee’s if anyone would like to join me. I currently have a ticket available and would pick one up for anyone else that wants one. …and yes I am now cognisant of the fact that the 23 rd is not this Sat nor the next, and the Ex does not open until August!
For posterity here is his post:
saturday June 16th would probably work well with my sched...perhaps we could grab some dinner then head to a show....could potentially even host dins at my place...will have to check my entertainment calendar (ie. sarah) to confirm....
as for dino jr., it does indeed rock and i'm not just saying that cause you and the globe and mail think so, bri. one of the few albums i've bought recently that falls into the 'rocking' camp, actually.
In an attempt to rectify the latter, here's the skinny, all notes courtesy the good folks at 'allmusic.com':
New Ruins - The Sound They Make
Playing dark-hued pop music that strikes a balance between melody-driven pleasure and guitar-fueled malaise, New Ruins started as a two-man recording project featuring Elzie Sexton on vocals, guitars, and keyboards and J. Caleb Means on vocals and guitar. Sexton and Means both grew up in southern Illinois, and became friends in their early teens. Sexton and Means formed a punk rock band together when they were 14, and worked together in a variety of musical projects until they both left town to go to college. Means traveled north and attended film school, while Sexton enrolled in an art college down south; however, the two friends kept in touch, and in addition to getting together to make music during breaks from school, they began sending tapes of works in progress back and forth, collaborating through the mail. After graduating, Sexton and Means both ended up back in Illinois in the Champaign-Urbana area, where Means opened a small recording studio, Boombox Studios. When not busy with clients, Means would work on new music with Sexton, and in 2004 New Ruins were born. After a year in which the duo was strictly a studio project, New Ruins began playing occasional live gigs in the summer of 2005, and before long they added a rhythm section to fill out their sound — bassist Paul Chastain and drummer Roy Ewing. In 2006, New Ruins began recording their first full album, The Sound They Make, which was released by Hidden Agenda Records in the spring of 2007.
The Comas - Spills
The Comas formed in Chapel Hill, NC, in March 1998 as a joke country band, as a sort of counterweight to the hyped No Depression movement. Soon, however, both the "joke" and the "country" parts of the concept were eliminated, and they developed into a quirky alternative rock band. Their respectable 1999 debut effort, Wave to Make Friends, is sleepy but not lethargic indie pop with just-off-kilter male-female vocal harmonies, courtesy of co-founders (and only constant members) Andrew Herod and Nicole Gehweiler, billed by their own label as "stoner pop." Their instrumental canvas is larger and more eclectic than that of the typical indie group, using violin, organ, and creative non-rap samples in addition to the usual guitars and rhythm section. Adam Price of the Mayflies USA plays organ; the disc was engineered and co-mixed by Michael Holland of Jennyanykind. In fall 2000, the Comas issued Def Needle in Tomorrow, and they returned four years later with Conductor. The Comas signed with Vagrant in December 2005, and the band, who at this point consisted of, besides Herod and Gehweiler (both of whom also played guitar), keyboardist Matt Sumrow, bassist Jason Caperton, and drummer Nic Gonzales, released Spells in the spring of 2007.
Radio Citizen - Berlin Serengeti
"Jazzy" is almost as overused a word in club-based music as "downtempo," in part because the former is harder to pin down. Is a record jazzy because it uses horns? Because it sounds like it's sampled classic Blue Note records? Or is it just the hushed, atmospheric production draping it all? Since jazz tends to be about process as much as result, it's a misleading phrase, but sometimes a putatively downtempo act evokes the stuff well enough to make you forgive the pretense, like the Cinematic Orchestra or, more recently, Berlin 10-piece Radio Citizen. Led by multi-instrumentalist (he's credited with alto sax, regular and bass clarinet, percussion, keyboards, flute and more) and producer Niko Schabel, Radio Citizen is less a big band than a fleshed-out version of a rare-groove DJ's dream group. While there are another pair of horn players in addition to Schabel (baritone saxophonist Ian Ensslen and sax and flute player Wolfi Schlick), the low end is where Berlin Serengeti's deepest charms lie. The grooves, led by double bassists Klaus Janek and Marcel Jung, are brawny and sure-footed, especially when drummer Julian Waiblinger gets frisky: check his dynamically accented snare rolls all over "Voices" and "Black Forest," while the album's highlight, "Night II," gets most of its muscle from busy open toms and cymbal work. On six of these 16 tracks, a vocalist named Bajka takes center stage — she's reminiscent of funk-era jazz singers like Marlena Shaw, appealing in a strident, Afro-futurist sort of way. But even when she's on the mic, your attention is drawn to the rich sounds that ground her and send her aloft. (courtesy: emusic.com).
Super weekend all!
Monday, June 04, 2007
Friday, June 01, 2007
i used to enjoy their saturday morning door-crasher sales and cursed the fact that i rarely had a chance to do the boxing day sales thing (stupid family holiday commitments). what i remember most about record shopping at sam the record man in the mid to late 1980s was not so much the records that i bought but the records that i longed to buy and couldn't because i was only a teenager with a part-time job and limited disposable cash. i always enjoyed flipping through a band's ouevre, pulling out the occassional japanese import or marvelling at the coloured vinyl records featuring interviews of the band. when i did make a purchase, it was only after an hour of making my way through the entire pop alphabet, and at least another half hour of gut-wrenching decision-making.
as for the future, agree that it's just a matter of time before the hmvs of the world reformat or go away entirely. it's likely that any music buyer interested in physical media will have some option to create customized discs of music available in digital form or even load up memory sticks from a selection of songs from a kiosk (like starbucks began doing a few years ago in select stores in the los angeles area). the days of retailers holding onto large or any quantities of music, on the off-chance that passersby may stroll in to browse or even buy their wares is long gone.
and while searching through an online database of downloadable music is so convenient, there's something to be said for communal inconvenience of standing in a crowded, poorly renovated (in the mid-1990s, sam's must have redesigned their store a half dozen times, to little improvement of traffic flow or navigation) and picking out a treasure to take home.
also with the past, as you may well know, it was 40 years ago today that a certain album was released by a certain band. i recall reading all the articles in 1987 that began with a quote from the first two lines from the opening song on this album and thinking, "in 20 years time, will i look back at any of the albums of 1987 with the same type of nostaglia?" now that 2 decades have passed, i can safely answer, "yes".
1987 is, in fact, one of my favourite years in music. it was the year that the smiths released their last studio album, 'strangeways here we come', as well as 'louder than bombs', a compilation of previously released singles and older tracks. another greatest hits type collection was released by new order in the form of 'substance' a two record (cassettes released months apart in white and blue covers) album that helped me and my friends catch up with all their earlier hits as well as appreciate the new ones, 'true faith' and '1963'.
depeche mode released the single for winningly danceable/singable 'strangelove' in the spring of that year, as well as one of their best songs, imho, 'never let me down again' later that summer in advance of the october release of 'music for the masses', one of their best. the cure's 'kiss me kiss me kiss me', which on initial listen seemed to contain a few gems and a lot of very rough patches, seems more of an accomplishment with each passing year. instant hits like 'just like heaven', and 'why can't i be you' still sound great, quieter tracks like 'catch' and 'one more time' stand out as pretty testaments to robert smiths' lyrical abilities, and the noisy operatics of 'the kiss' and 'like cockatoos' lend a sense of the epic while foreshadowing the broody soundscapes of 1989's 'disintegration'.
possibly my favourite r.e.m. album, 'document', , came out that fall, as did 10,000 maniacs 'in my tribe', which may have been their first and is their best, for me. though they only had two albums, the housemartins figured prominently on my stereo in the 1980s and their second release, 'the people who grinned themselves to death' also came out in 1987 (though several members of the band came out years previously). and another of my favourite bands, echo & the bunnmen released an impressive, eponymously titled album which featured 'lips like sugar', 'lost and found', and 'all my life'.
even bands that were becoming more commercial some great moments--inxs's 'kick', pet shop boys 'actually', the cult 'electric' , prince's 'sign of the times', (though this was definitely not one of his more mainstream albums, it's one of his most varied and interesting).some of the first hip hop that i really listened to--like eric b. and rakim's 'paid in full' and public enemy's 'yo bumb rush the show' also were 1987 albums.
no doubt there are some others i'm missing but you get my long-winded point, which is two-fold: 1) 'it was 20 years ago today' isn't just a nostalgic touchstone for boomers and 2) i love the music of 20 years ago.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
According to Bobby Sniderman who seemed to be on every radio station yesterday the closure is a result of downloading and big box stores. The impact of iTunes, Limewire etc is understandable but how the crappy selection of music at places like Best Buy pushed Sams out is baffling. I think these days if you plan to sell music from a storefront you have to specialize in specific genres of music and work that angle harder and with more informed personnel that give you value for your buck. Just like the good old days when record stores sold records and not DVDs, magazines etc. Who wants to guess how long before we see HMV depart or at least reappear on a much smaller scale.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
on what i cannot stress enough is a completely unrelated note, are we still up for a going out for beers/music night out the weekend of june 15th/16th? my preference is for the saturday night but i believe i am available for either.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
gotta say that i love, schaedenfraudically, the way the pitchfork dudes express their distaste for the whole project, in particular the dissing of owen pallet's contribution as an "audition to be Jon Brion's film-soundtrack intern".
i don't necessarily dismiss the remix in general. kcrw, for example, seemingly plays nothing but non-album versions of songs on their various shows, and their selections are usually quite stellar. but yeah, it's probably safe to say that the majority of remixes are garbage. for any one ep containing 6 or 7 remixes of a song, there may be 1 that is actually decent. and if you're not actively employed as a disc jockey, there's no excuse for owning such an ep.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Finally got around to listening to the new Dino Jr record last night and it sounds pretty fantastic.
Friday, May 18, 2007
sunshine beckons. think i'm gonna head home, fix me a wry & ginger, and get my long weekend on.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Re similar early seventies electro-jazz, I figure the big name ones, which you may already know and own, are Chick Corea's band Return to Forever which I own few tracks by and quite enjoy, the first couple of Weather Report (Zawinul, Shorter, etc) records, and for a little more "rock" in your jazz-rock, maybe McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra stuff, particularly the first couple (based on my own limited experience). Of course all of the Miles stuff from that period was fusion-esque as well. I loathed this music with a white hot passion when I was growing up....it seemed to represent everything that is ego-driven, flaccid, and meaningless about jazz (or what I thought jazz was at that point in my life...truth is jazz in 1975-80 was probably at its lowest creative/commercial point ever....remember Montreal based band UZEB....rrggghhghghg (me shuddering)), versus folk, pop, or punk. Interestingly, I've been re-visiting it carefully over the past few years and can stomach some of it, and even quite enjoy the really good. I think the key for me was coming at it through a more chronological process, learning about jazz's roots, through the bop and free periods, understanding the personalities and progression of the key players (Miles, Shorter, Corea, Zawinul etc) and then electric / fusion suddenly made sense.
Paul Bley did some early work with synths in the late sixties and is well worth tracking down. My man Bill Evans even made a record on which he played electric piano (hey, it was the seventies, elec piano just came along with the cocaine, blow jobs, and transcendental meditation) - not bad either (called The Bill Evans Album).
Segue into Chet Baker discussion, since the opening chords on "Alone Together" from Chet are heartbreakingly rendered by none other than Bill again. The man was everywhere. I agree with your comments about Chet as a trumpeter (I'm a huge fan so I'll lend some of my stuff over time and save you some dough), and about the album "Chet" - it's fantastic after hours music, featuring BE on paino and the great (but under-recognized) Pepper Adams on baritone sax. Chet the singer is also well worth lauding - he created a new sub-genre of jazz vocal in my view, which fit the same moods he captured on his horn so beautifully. I'll blog later on fave Chet B records.